• Published 19th Oct 2012
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Eljunbyro - Imploding Colon



Bellesmith must perform experimental tasks in order to keep herself and her beloved safe.

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Twin Pairs

"This goes beyond sequencing, Pilate. I... I'm being given a message," Belle said. "Whatever I interfaced with down there in the facility: something r-reached back. I think it even had a hold on me for a while. Either I was dreaming or..." She bit her lip. "Or I've been sequencing outside of the manalink with the subject."

"Outside of the manalink?" Pilate remarked breathily. The two of them squatted on the stoop to the front of their cabin. A gentle breeze wafted through the pine trees above them. A scattering of sunlight bathed their figures as they sat side by side. "How is that even scientifically possible?"

"I don't think the subject was the only thing I was sequencing with the whole time," Belle said. "There's more to the spheres within than just Rainbow Dash."

Pilate tilted his striped head towards her. "Rainbow... Dash, you say?"

"Yes. Though Pinkie Pie tends to call her 'Dashie.' But most friends—like Twilight and Fluttershy—just call her 'Rainbow' and—"

"Hold up... Hold up..." Pilate waved his hooves and patted her shoulder. "Who are all these ponies?!"

"Nnngh..." She tossed her head forward, resting her face and tusseled mane in her forelimbs. "I don't expect you to understand, Pilate, but I felt like I just lived the last two days in the body of Rainbow Dash, along with her close friends. They had just gone to this big dance that turned into a disaster, but they were all making the best of it. They went shopping in this city in the mountains called Canterlot, and then they went to see the Wonderbolts and took the midnight train to Ponyville—"

"Canterlot?" Pilate stammered. "Wonder... bolts?"

"Sorry!" she hissed. "It's just that I have so much information in my head and I don't know how to get it all out..."

"It's alright, Belle," Pilate said, stroking her shoulder. "I'm just... a bit amazed, is all..."

She sniffled, brushed her mane back, and glanced up at him. "And you said that I was still as a stone for two days?"

"More like three," he said. "At least, that's what they implied when they brought you here, unconscious."

Belle gulped. "Shell's guards?"

Pilate nodded.

Belle nervously fidgeted. "Did they... d-did they say when they would be taking me back?"

"They didn't say much of anything. I was quite furious with them," he said, his nostrils flaring. "I had thought they did something terrible to you. You were gone for a week, and then to be just dropped off like a sack of potatoes here..." He fumed for a bit, then blushed slightly. "A... uhm... a gorgeous sack of potatoes, of course."

"Of course," she smiled, reaching over to brush a hoof through his mohawk. "I guess I'm just surprised they let me go?"

"Why is that?"

"Well, because—" she began, but then her face hung in a cold grimace. She thought of concrete walls, of Shell's one glaring eye, of the sounds of muffled laborers and a wall of metal. She started panting, as if a bag had been hoisted over her head.

"Beloved...?"

She realized that several seconds had passed. Swallowing, she said, "Nothing. It's just that... before I woke up, I had gained nothing from the sequencing to tell them. And now..." She turned. She looked closely at him, at his fine black and white coat, at his handsome muzzle, at his softly twitching ears as he tilted his head towards her patiently.

"Now you have things to tell them?"

She thought of a question Shell had once asked her, and she inhaled sharply. She blinked before her eyes could turn moist. Clearing her throat, she said, "Yes. I have many things to tell them. But I don't know the difference from what is real information or what is just a hallucination."

"You think that something got crossed in your leylines?" Pilate asked. "Maybe there was a surge of mana feedback that disrupted your nerves."

"I did think of that..."

"In an attempt to fill in the gaps of comprehension, perhaps your mind constructed these tales about Rainbow Dash and Twilight Shy and Fluttersparkle."

She giggled. "Maybe. But I never saw myself as that imaginative. Or for that matter... religious..."

His brow furrowed around the runed plate. "Religious?"

"I... I had an experience, Pilate," she murmured. "Something glorious happened to me, something more fulfilling than the spark. It... it's been a long time since I had such release, and felt such contentment and freedom."

"This happened in your sleep?"

"It happened in a vision," she said. "I experienced something that hadn't happened before in the sequencing. I met an alicorn."

He murmured in a whispery voice, "An alicorn? As in from ancient times?"

"Yes," she replied just as quietly. "She said her name was Whitemane. She told me that..." She lingered.

"Told you what?"

"That... That I was to bring the wind back to Austraeoh."

"'Austraeoh?'" Pilate remarked. "Is that a place or something? A pony?"

"I believe it is me..."

"You?"

"I-I mean..." She seethed and ran a hoof over her head, gently tapping the stubby horn. "Rainbow Dash..."

"Oh Belle, you must be so exhausted from all this..."

"Yes. But..." she thought aloud, murmuring. "I have to understand. There's more than just that. I think Whitemane is trying to tell me something. I believe something in the subject is... is communicating with me, Pilate."

"Communicating in what way?"

"Ungh!" she tossed her mane and growled. "I wish I could just show you!" She stared at the dirt of the path leading up to the house. "There are these symbols that keep appearing in my visions. Garnet wanted me to interpret one, and now Shell does. I think I'm starting to get names for them in my head, but the meaning is still lost to me."

"Could you draw them?"

"I... think so..."

"Well, let me give it a look," he said. "I've been doing an awful lot of reading lately. Might as well put my mind to good use."

"Oh Pilate, you are always of good use."

"Humor me." He tilted his head back. "O.A.S.I.S. Standby."

The sphere detached from his choker and floated around the two.

"I think I can draw it in the dirt," Belle said, grabbing a stick.

"That'll do. O.A.S.I.S. has had a good eye lately."

"It can have an even better eye," Bellesmith muttered as she began drawing the four emblems in pairs. "I'm so behind on giving it proper maintenance."

"You need not bother. Kenna helped me with a mana recharge four days ago."

"Well, that was nice of her," Belle murmured in mid-sketch. As she dragged the stick over the dirt, she glanced up at the tiny cottages beside them. "It's awful quiet around here."

"Yes. I know."

"Kind of sad that Baxter has not been around at all. I miss his presence."

"He's been having to perform double the tasks in town," Pilate explained. "When he arrives back home, he immediately collapses and goes to bed. Kenna says he's been exhausted."

"Wow. When did he become such a workaholic?"

Pilate chewed on his lips before saying, "He's taken up Placid's job in the General Store."

"Oh?" Belle remarked, halfway done. "What for?"

"He's gone, Belle," Pilate said. "Placid and Felicity are no longer our neighbors. They've been relocated."

Belle froze. She turned and looked at Pilate. "Relocated?" she remarked.

Pilate slowly nodded.

"Well, what for?"

"We were never told." He shifted uncomfortably where he sat. "It happened rather suddenly too. The very day that you were brought back here, both of them were issued the order to move out. They didn't have any time to grab all of their belongings or even say goodbye to the rest of us. They were just told to leave, and so they did."

Belle squinted off towards the house across the dirt road. "Was it... the Enforcers?"

Pilate nodded again. He swallowed and said, "News is that three other couples were relocated as well. Mainstreet is a ghost town as of late."

"Why... are they sending so many ponies away?"

"I wish I knew, Belle. That's why I'm glad you're back," he said with a nervous smile. "It's been too quiet." He shuddered. "Too quiet for my tastes..."

"Oh Pilate..."

"How are... uh... how are the symbols coming along?"

"Oh. Uhm..." She sweated nervously and finished with the illustrations. "Almost done. There. Good thing there's a lull in the wind."

"This shouldn't take long." Pilate scooted over before the twin pairs of symbols under Belle's guidance. He tilted his muzzle towards the hum of the hovering sphere. "O.A.S.I.S. Image scan."

The sphere flickered with magic and levitated over the dirt. With a beam of white light, it covered every inch of the fresh impressions Belle had made: the hoofprint, the solar crest, the hash marks, and the blossoming serpent. It strobed a few more times before retreating to its socket in the zebra's choker. The plate atop Pilate's head flickered with alternating runes, and he positively jerked back from the flow of information.

Belle gasped lightly. "You okay?"

"I..." His brow furrowed as his mouth hung open for a few seconds. "...am intrigued."

"You... you know these symbols?" she asked.

"Hmmm..." He rubbed his hoof beneath his chin. "Great Stare..."

Belle raised an eyebrow. "The buffalo? What about him?"

"He should be running the town archives right about now." Pilate stood up on wobbly knees. "I think... it's time to pay him a visit, assuming he still has a few old tomes in his possession..."

"What kind of books?"

"The names escape me at the moment, but the symbols most certainly don't." Pilate turned and smiled at his mate. "Shall we?"

"Well, alright!" she smiled back and led him forward by the hoof.

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